Ep. 1 – The Extra Mile with Mark Bauer, Great Bend Co-Op

By: Farmobile


Since Farmobile was founded, we’ve been on a mission to prove that agdata is the infinite commodity in the agricultural industry. We’ve come a long way in bringing this vision to life.

Standardized, point-by-point agronomic and machine data is critical for improving efficiency and management capabilities on the farm, but from the beginning we’ve also known that it’s more than that — it has real quantifiable value for the farmer using it to make decisions and create a new revenue stream, the ag retailers leveraging it for insights, the buyer who has never had access to this level of data before.

Over the past few years, our team members and customers have been hard at work, amassing over one million acres of certified Electronic Field Records (EFRs) in the  data exchange.

Tune in for the Extra Mile from my conversation with Mark, where we talk about the DataStore and the multiple ways in which ground-truthed data is impacting the industry.

Jason: Ultimately, the whole idea around Farmobile and the PUC and the Data Engine and the DataStore is to create a standard EFR…that allows you to have a field boundary.

It allows you to have the acres, what activity was done. So it’s acres planted, let’s say commodities, was it corn, beans, wheat, milo? And then variety. What was the variety on it? What was the planting population? What was the date it was planted? Those are kind of the five things that we call a planting EFR. Then, when you can layer that on top of a harvest EFR, which is going to give you acres harvested, total production, average yield, average moisture, all that stuff now gives you that report card. And then when we can bring in some of the crop protection and fertility stuff, that brings it even more valuable.

Jason:    So for the first couple years, we were really concerned on that plant and harvest layer. And then we started to get inquiries from the data buyers, saying, “hey, is there any way you have the crop protection layers on here that we could add in to it? Is there any way we could get the fertility layer on here, we could add in to it?”

As we were able to start to bring some of those together, that’s where we’ve seen the price for the data that you’re collecting go way up. I think our largest sale last year was $5 an acre. They had five layers of data, which included a couple crop protection layers, a fertility layer, the planting layer, and the harvest layer. That’s really what we’re starting to see when we talk about the DataStore and electronic field record. If we’re good at collecting that data and organizing it the way we need to, it’s more useful for you in your daily operations and interactions with the growers.

We’re really creating a net new dollar to the farmer whenever they monetize. The average grower that sold data last year got $3100. They paid $1250 for a PUC. But the really interesting part is, that data can be sold over and over and over again. It’s not like your crop where you get, really, one chance to sell it. You get as many chances to sell it as you want.

Jason:    I’m really excited about year 2019, as we start to get into two and three years of data now, to allow a lot of these [DataBuyers] to start to train their algorithms. Whether it be in the insurance market. Whether it’s in the trading market.

That is one of the exciting things that we see happening from the DataStore perspective. Those are the reasons that you want to collect that data, right? You want to collect that data so you can be in the position to, A, make that data usable for your trusted advisors, and B, have a new revenue stream from that data.

Mark: When I first heard that you guys were allowing growers to sell their data, the first thing that came to my mind was … “I don’t know if I could ever see anybody wanting to sell their data.”

But actually, as we’ve talked to more guys, they’re kind about it. They’re a little more open. They want to know who it’s going to, which is what happens. But just like you said, that’s another income possibility. And especially with the markets like they are now, farm income being down, if that could pay the bills a little bit…

Jason:    The combination of that and the zones you were talking about earlier, right? That’s going to make some people pretty dang happy.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah it is. I think in the long run it’s going to be a big deal.

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